The stage at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Alpharetta wasn't big enough for Kelly Clarkson and The Fray's Isaac Slade. Both artists – and Clarkson's backup singers – ran out in the audience, only to hop up on small platforms to continue their performances closer to audience members in the "cheap seats."
Slade even made a mad dash up one side of the amphitheater, across the front of the lawn section and back down again. Slade took the the keyboards up in the seats. And Clarkson sang several songs from these platforms, telling the crowd that when she was a kid, if she even got into a concert it was way in the back.
The crowd appreciated these efforts by the artists. Suddenly fans in the back of the amphitheatre could see the faces of their singing idols. And those farther away on the lawn could certainly appreciate the effort.
The concert became a bit emotional before Slade left the stage. He and bandmate Joe King grew up pretty close to Aurora and the movie theater where a gunman too so many lives, so it was fitting that the Denver-based band would dedicate a poriton of the concert to the victims.
Following that up with a rendition of "Georgia On My Mind" turned out to be a real crowd pleaser.
The Fray included songs from their latest recording, "Scars and Stories."
When Kelly Clarkson came to the stage, the pitch and type of screams changed. The tone and pitch went much higher. It was a good thing it wasn't a school night for the Fulton County kids attending, because this concert kept them out pretty late.
She opened with "My Life Would Suck Without You," and worked to get the crowd involed right away. "Behind These Hazel Eyes" came next, and it was another fan favorite. With 10 years as a recording artist she has a lot of choices for her set list. "I Forgive You" was next, before she started in on her latest album.
The first song from her latest album, "Stronger," was also her latest single, "Dark Side." She followed that with "You Love Me."
Clarkson did a cover of "We Are Young," getting the crowd to sing along as she did on most of her songs. "Already Gone" was up next.
But then she let the audience take control. She's adopted a new practice of asking one audience member to pick a song for her to learn and sing that same day. Wednesday night, Lindsey Huffman got her wish, and Clarkson had to learn the Trisha Yearood song, "Walkaway Joe."
Before too long she was singing, "Since U've Been Gone" and "Mr. Know It All."
Throughout the concert, Clarkson had the audience up dancing and singing along. While it wasn't a full house, it looked closer to 10,000 than 8,000, with the lawn opened up for the night. Those lawn seats were important to many families, as tickets were $25 each up on the grass, and as much as $99 in front of the stage.
Clarkson hasn't really been known as a technical singer, and her voice can stray. At times Wednesday night she didn't seem to have the strength for a song, but she kept control within her range of the moment. Unfortunately her backup singers weren't as quick to adjust. That made for a few rough patches in songs as their voices overpowered hers. These didn't last long, though.
Then again, she did tell the crowd it was her friend's 30th birthday the night before, and somehw they were celebrating with bicycles and alcohol, which didn't seem like it was as good an idea the next day.
She also encouraged fans to visit the locations where The Vampire Diaries is shot in Georgia, which she said was just 40 minutes away.
Overall, the concert was entertaining, with both The Fray and Clarkson getting the crowd involved.